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Lead Smart Coaching offers leadership coaching, mindfulness training and professional development for schools and universities.

Lead Smart Coaching supports growth and development of school leaders because we support the growth and development of children; our future depends on self-motivated children engaged in learning and compassionate action.


Valerie L. Brown is an educational consultant, leadership coach, and author.

Valerie Brown is an educational consultant and ICF-accredited leadership coach of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in leadership and mindfulness training for educational leaders. She has studied and practiced mindfulness meditation in the Plum Village tradition since 1995 and was ordained as a member of the Tiep Hien Order by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003.

Valerie’s life and work is a blending of career paths and disciplines, having devoted her early career as an attorney and lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits. After many stops and starts, great uncertainty, and fear, she stepped out on to shaky ground to transform her life and her work, to live in alignment with her deepest values and her true self.

She holds a Juris Doctorate, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees, and has trained extensively at the Center for Courage & Renewal and with Parker J. Palmer, Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society/University of Massachusetts Medical School (CFM) where she completed Practicum training in 2007 and the Teacher Development Intensive in 2013. As a certified Kundalini yoga teacher (500 hours training), she engages the wisdom of the mind-body connection to support vibrant, healthy leaders and teams.

She shares her global vision of a society that is interconnected through mindful awareness and compassionate action in her first book, The Road that Teachers: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (QuakerBridge Media, 2012). This book was endorsed by the CFM, Thich Nhat Hanh and Parker J. Palmer, among others. In her forthcoming book, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School, Corwin Press (2014), she explores the role of mindfulness in strengthening thriving leaders and building greater understanding and peace within schools. This book has received early praise from Parker J. Palmer, Christopher Germer, Kristin Neff, and Dianne Horgan of the CFM.

Valerie travels nationally and internationally leading retreats and speaking on mindfulness and leadership, and is passionate about fostering courageous conversations that nurture trustworthy relationships. She is a Quaker and a long-time teacher at Pendle Hill, a Quaker study, retreat,and conference center.

She lives in the small village of New Hope, PA, which is between Manhattan and Philadelphia.